Before the invention of clocks people used devices such as sundials, sandclock etc to know the time. Wikipedia gives you the measurements once used by south Indians (time,area, weight). My doubt is what is the ancient thamizh people used to know time. Are there any references stating they used devices to know time.

  • 1
    It would be nice if you provided a link to "thamiz" - google produces only a reference to a movie. I infer that the Thamiz are an ancient Dravidian people, but someone might be able to answer the question if the connections were explicit.
    – MCW
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 12:19
  • 1
    Yes, they are the dravidians. Thamizh is a language commonly known as Tamil in english. It is pronounced as 'Thamizh' not as 'Tamil'.
    – Gorrut
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 16:29
  • 4
    For what purpose? Dawn, noon and sunset are trivial. Mid morning and mid afternoon are not much more difficult. Why would it be necessary to know the time more accurately than that in an ancient civilization, when that actually suffices for most agricultural workers today, most of the time? Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 16:56
  • @PieterGeerkens The Wikipedia article the OP described has units of time that are more accurate then Dawn, noon and sunset. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – user6467
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 10:41
  • @KolappanNathan: (1) Those are all 'time intervals', not 'times of day'. World of difference. (2) Healthy resting heartbeat is (not coincidently) very close to 60 beats / minute, making the measurement of time intervals in units of a second quite straightforward far into pre-history. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


The Tamul and Telugu both used the same system of time keeping, which was derived from ancient Hindi methods and was based on a 60-hour day, the word "ghurry" meaning an hour (24-minute period):

Telugu time keeping

The standard method of time keeping was the water clock which was used by the Hindus and other peoples of India for thousands of years going back. The water clock was known as the "ghurry al" and was typically made of copper, brass or gold. The ancient Hindu water clock is known explicitly from a detailed description by Lalla, the famous 8th century Indian astronomer (qv).

  • 2
    you mean Hindu methods or Hindi methods in second line?
    – Avis
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 2:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.